Dear Zachary, or Mr. Gutierrez, or Spokker, or Mr. Jones, or Stinky Whizzleteats, or whatever the hell it is that you call yourself,
I have read many of the Something Awful reviews. Sometimes I find them actually informative. Sometimes humorous. Often both. This time, I am not sure how to take your review. I am willing to believe that you may have written it with the intention of avoiding any actual facts. Perhaps then I am supposed to read this review as a work of humor and fiction. If that is the case, then let me apologize in advance. But, if you intended on writing your review as an actual piece of journalism, then you may, if you wish, take the rest of my email to heart.
Let me start by saying that I am not a fan of the Evil Empire Microsoft. As a matter of fact, I am one of those people who believe that the name of that company should forever be spoken exactly that way at all times. Never Microsoft, or Microsoft Corporation, but always The Evil Empire Microsoft. I am an original Macintosh computer owner (which I bought purely for it’s graphics capabilities). I currently own, or have owned, a Playstation 2, a Gamecube and an Xbox. The Xbox is now, I am almost ashamed to say, the only console game system I still own. I own it because of it's superior design and the strength and power of the hardware used, if you look at it compared to a PS2 or Gamecube.
The reason that I was so taken aback by your review is that almost every time you use any actual reference to either an item, character or event in the game, or make reference to a supposed technical “fact”, you get it wrong. So consistently wrong that I started to wonder if you actually played the game at all. Perhaps you inferred things from watching television articles about it. Or perhaps someone else played it and tried, poorly, to describe it to you. Again, if these regular variances from the truth were intentional, I am sorry that I missed your point.
First of all, you continually mention names of people and things from the game, but you get those names wrong. It’s plainly annoying while reading your piece that you kept referring to the Covenant as “the Coveners” and Cortana as “Cortina”. Yes, I know, who cares. I’m sorry, but it’s just annoying.
Secondly, you mention new features of the game, including controller buttons that the user needs to press to activate these new features. But you get the key sequences wrong, or seemed to have missed the point of what they actually do. Yes, in the new game you can now “CarJack” vehicles from your opponents, but you don’t do it by pressing the “B” key, it’s the “X” key you press. The worst part was when you attempted to describe “Dual Wielding”, which is new in the game, by describing simply switching weapons by hitting the “Y” key, which one could do all along in both Halo and Halo 2. Dual Wielding is accomplished by picking up a new weapon off the ground by pressing the “Y” key instead of the usual “X”, thus you will now be clutching and using a weapon in both your right and left hands. And, by the way, this is a pretty significant innovation for the game. You mention the flashlight feature from the original Halo. You are correct, it was a bit annoying that the flashlight wo uld last such a short period of time. Um, did you happen to notice that they fixed that in Halo 2? The flashlight comes on and stays on, with no timer.
And what is this “aim-bot” feature you are talking about? Is this something that happens when you play the game on the easiest “Wimp” setting? It surely doesn’t do that when you play it on Normal, Heroic, or Legendary. And no self-respecting gamer would play this game on the “Wimp” setting.
As far as your impressions of the graphics and sound, all I can say is: what? A few recent industry polls have counted down the best video game graphics of all time. Most recently Tech TV’s “Filter” devoted an entire show to the subject. Albeit, this was filmed before Halo 2 was released. Regardless, Halo was judged to be second only to Metroid Prime as the greatest graphics of all time. And Halo 2 does it better. The graphics are sharper, brighter, and as smooth as glass. Frame rates are consistently high. And the in-game engine cut scenes are almost as smooth as the game play. And you, for some unknown reason, seem to think the game play graphics lag behind the cut scenes. Dude, they are rendered on the fly by the same engine.
Your impression of the sound was even more questionable. The sound and music in Halo were some of the best ever used in a video game and Halo 2 raised the bar yet again. I have talked with many a Halo 2 gamer and it is so far universal. Almost everyone I have talked to wants to own the soundtrack even.
Now, we come to the big one – Halo 2’s implementation of Xbox Live. I don’t even know where to start. Halo 2 is the smoothest running online experience I have ever encountered. It never lags. The voice communication is flawless (sometimes the people using it are pretty flawed, but the technology itself is nothing short of amazing). The Matchmaking, Clan support and Friends system is executed beautifully. In short, it doesn’t appear that you even tried it before you trashed it. Unless that is you are one of those poor folks who still uses a dial-up connection to the web, or you have a really lousy Direct TV broadband service. Otherwise, I don’t get it.
In short, if your review was an attempt at humor, I didn’t get it, but then I’m sorry that it flew right over my head. If it was an attempt at an honest game review, then shame on you. You really missed the mark on this one, Zack, Spokk, Jones, whateverthehellyournameis. Next time try actually playing the game before you review it.